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Weekly Roundups

Real Progress or Empty Gestures?

By Jan Hogewoning | Fri, 02/14/2020 - 15:52

Several government offices in Mexico touted their plans for the agricultural sector this week. New agreements could drive more institutional collaboration. However, results speak louder than words.

Bayer is still facing heavy fire as it deals with Roundup’s lingering legal situation, a product it acquired after taking over Monsanto. The company has not wavered on its intention to keep selling the herbicide, which has been linked to cancer cases.

The EU’s approach to the meat market is questioned by NGOs and the US government. NGOs are calling for a halt in campaigns that downplay the risks of eating meat and attempt to reverse the decline in meat consumption. The US government is pressuring EU officials to loosen restrictions on US beef imports, which EU officials fear could bring back health crises such as mad cow disease.

 

Ready for more? Here are the week’s headlines:

 

Mexico

Miguel García Winder, Deputy Minister of Agriculture, toured the state of Guerrero this week to present some of SADER’s agricultural and livestock care strategies to regional leaders.

SIAP, a SADER agency, signed an agreement with the Coastal Research and Development Center of UNAM to boosts agricultural research and promotion of sustainable fisheries and aquaculture.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Víctor Villalobos, Minister of Wellbeing María Luisa Albores and Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce Ernesto Acevedo joined a group of coffee producers this week to establish an inter-institutional commission aimed at creating solutions that provide opportunities for the social sector.

Mexican exports of meat and vegetables continue to grow. Six establishments with a Federal Inspection Type (TIF) certification can now export beef to Singapore.

According to official figures released by the Association of Organized Avocado Producers, avocado production generated 400,000 jobs during the run up to the Super Bowl. The final figure stands at a total of 127,000 tons of exported avocado, which is a record.

 

Latin America

Argentinean wheat is reaching record exports despite higher taxes. New markets include countries in Southeast Asia.

Colombia is aiming to double its flower exports to US$3 billion a year over the next decade, Colombian President Ivan Duque stated on Tuesday. The strategy is to grow new species and expand to other markets in Asia and Latin America. The current primary export market is the US.

 

Bayer

The German seed-and-pesticides supplier has announced its scientists have discovered a new molecule for herbicides. This could prove effective against grasses which are able to survive other products, such as the controversial Roundup. The latter has been the subject of regulatory and legal action for its alleged links to cancer.

Bayer has asked a California appeals court to overturn an US$86 million verdict after it found that Roundup was responsible for a couple’s cancer diagnosis.

Experts are saying Bayer is finding itself in an unusual process as it tries to end the multi-billion-dollar lawsuits for alleged Roundup-related cancer cases, while at the same time still intending to keep it in the market.

 

World

A Canadian government minister urged the government of India this week to pursue more consistent farm trade policies to avoid uncertainty among Canadian pulse farmers supplying to India.

India is proposing to partially open up its dairy and poultry market to score a limited trade deal with the US. US President Donald Trump will visit the country this month.

EU officials are wary of loosening import restrictions on US beef, citing fears about the 90s outbreak of mad-cow disease. Trump stated on Monday that he was turning his sights to Europe, which he has said is worse than China in terms of trade.

Sime Darby, the world largest palm oil planter and supplier of companies including Nestle, Unilever, McDonald’s and Ferrero, has suspended a supplier which failed to meet its proposed environmental standards. It has further identified 54 other suppliers considered at high risk, all located in Indonesia and Malaysia.

The EU is being accused of taking an “indefensible” approach to human health and the climate crisis as action groups point out the tens of millions of euros it spends on campaigns that promote meat consumption.

 

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, Reuters, El Economista, El Financiero, SADER
Jan Hogewoning Jan Hogewoning Journalist and Industry Analyst